Thursday, April 17, 2014

1B: Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1928-2014)


"Gabriel José García Márquez was born on March 6, 1928 in Aracataca, a town in Northern Colombia, where he was raised by his maternal grandparents in a house filled with countless aunts and the rumors of ghosts. But in order to get a better grasp on García Márquez's life, it helps to understand something first about both the history of Colombia and the unusual background of his family."-- from the website Macondo


The death of Gabriel José García Márquez was reported by The New York Times on April 17, 2014.  He was 87.



For more information about García Márquez visit Macondo, an excellent website on Garcia Marquez; Macondo is also the name of the writer's fictional town in One Hundred Years of Solitude, a seminal novel work in Magical Realism and world literature. Garcia Marquez won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982 for his body of work.  Go to his Nobel Prize page to learn more about him. Here is an interview that the Paris Review conducted with Garcia Marquez in 1981. In an excerpt from it, he talks about his literary education;

      INTERVIEWER
How did you start writing?
GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ
By drawing. By drawing cartoons. Before I could read or write I used to draw comics at school and at home. The funny thing is that I now realize that when I was in high school I had the reputation of being a writer, though I never in fact wrote anything. If there was a pamphlet to be written or a letter of petition, I was the one to do it because I was supposedly the writer. When I entered college I happened to have a very good literary background in general, considerably above the average of my friends. At the university in Bogotá, I started making new friends and acquaintances, who introduced me to contemporary writers. One night a friend lent me a book of short stories by Franz Kafka. I went back to the pension where I was staying and began to read The Metamorphosis. The first line almost knocked me off the bed. I was so surprised. The first line reads, “As Gregor Samsa awoke that morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. . . .” When I read the line I thought to myself that I didn’t know anyone was allowed to write things like that. If I had known, I would have started writing a long time ago. So I immediately started writing short stories. They are totally intellectual short stories because I was writing them on the basis of my literary experience and had not yet found the link between literature and life. The stories were published in the literary supplement of the newspaper El Espectador in Bogotá and they did have a certain success at the time—probably because nobody in Colombia was writing intellectual short stories. What was being written then was mostly about life in the countryside and social life. When I wrote my first short stories I was told they had Joycean influences.
INTERVIEWER
Had you read Joyce at that time?
GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ
I had never read Joyce, so I started reading Ulysses. I read it in the only Spanish edition available. Since then, after having read Ulysses in English as well as a very good French translation, I can see that the original Spanish translation was very bad. But I did learn something that was to be very useful to me in my future writing—the technique of the interior monologue. I later found this in Virginia Woolf, and I like the way she uses it better than Joyce. Although I later realized that the person who invented this interior monologue was the anonymous writer of the Lazarillo de Tormes.
INTERVIEWER
Can you name some of your early influences?
GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ
The people who really helped me to get rid of my intellectual attitude towards the short story were the writers of the American Lost Generation. I realized that their literature had a relationship with life that my short stories didn’t. And then an event took place which was very important with respect to this attitude. It was the Bogotazo, on the ninth of April, 1948, when a political leader, Gaitan, was shot and the people of Bogotá went raving mad in the streets. I was in my pension ready to have lunch when I heard the news. I ran towards the place, but Gaitan had just been put into a taxi and was being taken to a hospital. On my way back to the pension, the people had already taken to the streets and they were demonstrating, looting stores and burning buildings. I joined them. That afternoon and evening, I became aware of the kind of country I was living in, and how little my short stories had to do with any of that. When I was later forced to go back to Barranquilla on the Caribbean, where I had spent my childhood, I realized that that was the type of life I had lived, knew, and wanted to write about.
Around 1950 or ’51 another event happened that influenced my literary tendencies. My mother asked me to accompany her to Aracataca, where I was born, and to sell the house where I spent my first years. When I got there it was at first quite shocking because I was now twenty-two and hadn’t been there since the age of eight. Nothing had really changed, but I felt that I wasn’t really looking at the village, but I was experiencing it as if I were reading it. It was as if everything I saw had already been written, and all I had to do was to sit down and copy what was already there and what I was just reading. For all practical purposes everything had evolved into literature: the houses, the people, and the memories. I’m not sure whether I had already read Faulkner or not, but I know now that only a technique like Faulkner’s could have enabled me to write down what I was seeing. The atmosphere, the decadence, the heat in the village were roughly the same as what I had felt in Faulkner. It was a banana-plantation region inhabited by a lot of Americans from the fruit companies which gave it the same sort of atmosphere I had found in the writers of the Deep South. Critics have spoken of the literary influence of Faulkner, but I see it as a coincidence: I had simply found material that had to be dealt with in the same way that Faulkner had   treated similar material.

For information re: magical realism, see J. Kip Wheeler's webpage of literary terms; if this link does not work I have a link to Wheeler's webpage under the On Writing section on the  right side of the blog; look for Literary Terms by Dr. L. Kip Wheeler, and follow the links to magical realism. Also, to students: I invite you to read about narrator, epiphany and motif at Wheeler's site.


The first 11 minutes of the
 documentary Garcia Marquez: A Witch Writing


The house in Aracataca, Colombia where
Garcia Marquez, aka Gabo, 
was born in 1928.
 (El Espectador; with thanks to Sean Dolan)

from the Paris Review interview with GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ, 1981:

INTERVIEWER
Can you name some of your early influences?
GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ
. . . . Around 1950 or ’51 another event happened that influenced my literary tendencies. My mother asked me to accompany her to Aracataca, where I was born, and to sell the house where I spent my first years. When I got there it was at first quite shocking because I was now twenty-two and hadn’t been there since the age of eight. Nothing had really changed, but I felt that I wasn’t really looking at the village, but I was experiencing it as if I were reading it. It was as if everything I saw had already been written, and all I had to do was to sit down and copy what was already there and what I was just reading. For all practical purposes everything had evolved into literature: the houses, the people, and the memories. I’m not sure whether I had already read Faulkner or not, but I know now that only a technique like Faulkner’s could have enabled me to write down what I was seeing. The atmosphere, the decadence, the heat in the village were roughly the same as what I had felt in Faulkner. It was a banana-plantation region inhabited by a lot of Americans from the fruit companies which gave it the same sort of atmosphere I had found in the writers of the Deep South. Critics have spoken of the literary influence of Faulkner, but I see it as a coincidence: I had simply found material that had to be dealt with in the same way that Faulkner had treated similar material.
From that trip to the village I came back to write Leaf Storm, my first novel. What really happened to me in that trip to Aracataca was that I realized that everything that had occurred in my childhood had a literary value that I was only now appreciating. From the moment I wrote Leaf Storm I realized I wanted to be a writer and that nobody could stop me and that the only thing left for me to do was to try to be the best writer in the world. That was in 1953, but it wasn’t until 1967 that I got my first royalties after having written five of my eight books.
INTERVIEWER
Do you think that it’s common for young writers to deny the worth of their own childhoods and experiences and to intellectualize as you did initially?
GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ
No, the process usually takes place the other way around, but if I had to give a young writer some advice I would say to write about something that has happened to him; it’s always easy to tell whether a writer is writing about something that has happened to him or something he has read or been told. Pablo Neruda has a line in a poem that says “God help me from inventing when I sing.” It always amuses me that the biggest praise for my work comes for the imagination, while the truth is that there’s not a single line in all my work that does not have a basis in reality. The problem is that Caribbean reality resembles the wildest imagination.
From that trip to the village I came back to write Leaf Storm, my first novel. What really happened to me in that trip to Aracataca was that I realized that everything that had occurred in my childhood had a literary value that I was only now appreciating.

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ in The New Yorker
The New Yorker has published numerous stories by García Márquez and a profile of him.  Here is the magazine's post with links.

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ  Interview

William Kennedy interview with García Márquez. It appeared in The Atlantic, January 1973 under the title, "The Yellow Trolley Car in Barcelona, and Other Visions."

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ Obituaries
The New York Times, April 17, 2014 has an extensive report on his life and death.  Many other news outlets around the world, including the Los Angeles Times, CNNTime, and The Guardian, recall his importance.

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ  Farewell Letter
His letter was reprinted in the Pacific Rim Review of Books.

Taken in 1982, Paris. Gabriel García Márquez with his son Gonzalo
 and wife Mercedes a short time prior to winning the Nobel Prize. (Gamma-Liaison)


One Hundred Years of Solitude has been translated into nearly 40 languages.
 Here is a small selection of book covers for the novel.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Andre Kertesz: Photographs of Readers

photograph by Andre Kertesz: Man Reading (with cow), Paris, 1928 

Who is that guy, above, reading with that cow looking over his shoulder?  I have no idea.  But if you wish to learn more about Andre Kertesz (1894-1985), the photographer (of the picture, above, and those below), see the page for the PBS Americian Masters. and go to a great page blogger of photographer Erick Kim has devoted to Kertesz. The Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College in Chicago has an extensive Kertesz biography and archive.

New York City Skyline, Chimneys, 1963


Reading in New York City, 1963


Esztergom, Hungary, 1915


Second Avenue, New York City, Man reading in antique store, 1969


New York (boy on pile of newspapers eating ice cream), October 12, 1944



Paris, 1923


Nara. Commuters on a train. 1968





Circus Performer in Dressing Room, 1969


Long Island University, New York, 1963 


Café du Dôme, Paris, 1923

Man Reading with Magnifying Glass, New York, 1959

And there's more photos of readers by Kertesz here and here. There is also a Kertesz series produced by the BBC on YouTube. This is the first part of the Master Photographers program on him.

Chief Reading Chekhov, Los Angeles. 2010

1B: Anton Chekhov

If I have to choose between Chekhov and most
 hip-hop, I'll go with Chekhov.

 - Cornel West

Russian writers and homies
 Anton "Tall Boy" Chekhov (1860-1904), at left,
and Leo "The Bear" Tolstoy (1828-1920) kicking it.
Tolstoy is best known for his novels
War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877).
 Chekhov's plays are produced world-wide. Among classical playwrights he is thought to have the most productions of his work staged each year next to Shakespeare.
 His short stories continue to be the primary influence
 on many writers of fiction.


CHEKHOV and TOLSTOY
Tolstoy and Chekhov homies?  To an extent. Here's a remembrance of the two by Peter Gnedich, “Memories,” from The Book of Life (1922):

"Lev Tolstoy sincerely loved Chekhov, but did not like his plays. He told Chekhov once, 'A playwright should take the theater-goer by the hand, and lead him in the direction he wants him to go. And where can I follow your character? To the couch in the living-room and back—because your character has no other place to go.' They both—Tolstoy and Chekhov—laughed at these words.

"Chekhov told me later, 'When I am writing a new play, and I want my character to exit the stage, I remember those words of Lev Nikolaevich, and I think "Where will my character go?" I feel both funny and angry.' Chekhov’s only consolation was that Tolstoy also did not like the plays of Shakespeare.

"Chekhov told me once, 'You know, I recently visited Tolstoy in Gaspra. He was bedridden due to illness. Among other things, he spoke about me and my works. Finally, when I was about to say goodbye he took my hand and said, "Kiss me goodbye." While I bent over him and he was kissing me, he whispered in my ear in a still energetic, old man’s voice, "You know, I hate your plays. Shakespeare was a bad writer, and I consider your plays even worse than his.”'

CHEKHOV BIOGRAPHY

Looking for a concise biography of Anton Chekhov that goes beyond the above memories of Tolstoy and Chekhov?  Here's a good place to start.  You'll get the highlights: where he went to school and what he wrote.  For more comprehensive biographies try the Encyclopedia Britannica or this page from Andres Teuber of Brandeis University. There is also a good reflective essay  on Chekhov in The Guardian 150 years after his birth.





CHEKHOV'S SHORT STORIES

Who says that Chekhov is one of the greatest short story writers? Many writers think he is, or love him. The BBC declared "Chekhov is the short story writer's short story writer. As the author of over 600 examples, his influence on the modern form is without equal. When 25 noted authors were asked to name the most crucial influences on their own work, Chekhov was cited by 10 of them, including Eudora Welty, Nadine Gordimer, and Raymond Carver. He received double the nominations of any other writer" and Richard Ford's introductory essay, "Why We Love Chekhov," to Tales of Chekhov, 2007, may explain the admiration writers have for Chekhov. Maybe you'll love (or at least admire) Chekhov too after you read some of the 201 short stories by Chekhov at this site.

Some American readers find character names in Russian fiction complicated to follow.  Yet, they are not as difficult as it seems, Masha Holl explains at her site.  I find her description easy and straightforward.  Let me quote her: "To see just how crazy and wild these nicknames can become in Russian, click on the names in the table. The cascading folders will reveal the common diminutives (hypociristic forms, as linguists like to say) in progressive order: from the more ordinary to the more intimate. This is where readers are often lost in Russian novels: characters may have several different nicknames and still be the same person."  Go see her.  She knows what she's talking about.

If you want more information, there are an endless number of sites to turn to.  One such place is Russland Journal, which you might find easy to navigate. Another source, surprise, surprise, is Wikipedia.


CHEKHOV and the THEATRE

OSF production of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, 2007
This documentary, Meeting Chekhov, might be of interest to those of you who are reading Chekhov right now (in 1B), have read him previously, or are considering attending the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  Libby Appel, the former artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, talks about her lifetime love of Chekhov's plays and the man, from the day she was introduced to him as a 16 year-old girl. OSF actors also talk about their admiration of Chekhov, and we get to see some scenes of Ashland and the OSF campus.







You may find it easier to watch the above if you go directly to YouTube.




Judith Marie Bergan and Gregory Linington in The Cherry Orchard, OSF, 2007
Chekhov reads The Seagull to actors. 1899.
You can learn more about the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 2012 production of The Seagull here.

The cast of Vanya on 42nd Street. From left to right:
 Brooke Smith (Sonya), Wallace Shawn (Vanya), Julianne Moore (Yelena),  and George Gaynes (Serybryakov)
Chekhov's Uncle Vanya & Vanya on 42nd Street 
1B Students: If you have the inclination read Roger Ebert's review of Vanya on 42nd Street. Go to the Criterion film page for Vanya on 42nd Street; read the film essays and view the trailers at the page.  Here's an article from The New York Times"'Vanya,' Theatre and Art of Being". It provides additional information about Vanya on 42nd Street, which you may know is an adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya by David Mamet.





Chekhov has had a great influence on other artists, besides writers. The great ballet artist Mikhail Baryshnikov, shown above, talks about doing a play inspired by Chekhov's short stories, "Man in a Case" and "About Love."  Following the Baryshnikov interview members of the producing theatre company, the avant garde Big Dance Theater,  talk about the Chekhov stories, Baryshnikov, and their goal in bringing Chekhov's short stories to the stage.




TRANSLATING CHEKHOV

Translation is a tricky business and contentious.  The argument raised: is the translation representative of the author's language, ideas, and tone, or has the translator twisted the original into their own literary bias and limited imagination?  An article in The New Yorker addresses this issue in their profile of two contemporary translators know for their Russian translations, husband and wife Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky

We should keep in mind that no matter how good translators may be, they come between the writer and the reader--if only slightly. Yet it is not uncommon for readers, and especially those skilled in the author's native language, to have a preference. Please note, below, the two different translations for the same Chekhov story.  


A Doctor’s Visit

(tr. Constance Garnett, 1917)

The professor received a telegram from the Lyalikovs’ factory; he was asked to come as quickly as possible.  The daughter of a certain Madame Lyalikov, apparently the owner of the factory, was ill, and that was all that one could make out of the long, incoherent telegram.  And the professor did not go himself, but sent instead his assistant, Korolyov.

It was two stations from Moscow, and there was a drive of three miles from the station.  A carriage with three horses had been sent to the station to meet Korolyov; the coachman wore a hat with a peacock feather on it, and answered every question in a loud voice like a soldier: “No, sir!” “Certainly, sir!”

It was Saturday evening; the sun was setting, the workers were coming in crowds from the factory to the station, and they bowed to the carriage in which Korolyov was driving. And he was charmed with the evening, the farmhouses and villas on the road, and the birch-trees, and the quiet atmosphere all around, when the fields and woods


A Medical Case

(tr. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, 2000)

A professor received a telegram from the Lialikovs’ factory asking him to come quickly.  The daughter of a certain Mr. Lialikov, apparently the owner of the factory, was sick--nothing more could be understood from the long, witlessly composed telegram. The professor did not go himself, but sent his intern Korolev in his place.

He had to go two stations away from Moscow and then some three miles by carriage.  A troika was sent to the station to pick Korolev up; the driver wore a hat with a peacock feather, and to all questions responded with a loud military “No, sir!” or “Yes, sir!” It was Saturday evening, the sun was setting.  Crowds of workers came walking from the factory to the station and bowed to the horses that were bringing Korolev.  And he was enchanted by the evening, and the country houses and dachas along the way, and the birches, and that quiet mood all around, when it seemed that, together with the workers, the fields, the woods, and the sun were preparing to rest on the eve of the holy day--to rest and perhaps to pray . . . 

and the sun seemed preparing, like the workers now on the eve of the holiday to rest, and perhaps to pray. . . . 

He had been born and grown up in Moscow; he did not know the country, and he had never taken any interest in factories or been inside one, but he had happened to read about factories, and had been in the houses of manufacturers and had talked to them; and whenever he saw a factory far or near, he always thought how quiet and peaceable it was outside, but within there was always sure to be impenetrable ignorance and dull egoism on the side of the owners, wearisome, unhealthy toil on the side of the workpeople, squabbling, vermin, vodka.  And now when the workers timidly and respectfully made way for the carriage, in their faces, their caps, their walk, he read physical impurity, drunkenness nervous exhaustion, bewilderment.

They drove in at the factory gates. On each side he caught glimpses of the little houses of workpeople, of the faces of women, of quilts and linen on the railings. “Look out!” shouted the coachman, not pulling up the horses. It was a wide courtyard without grass, with five immense blocks of buildings with 

He was born and grew up in Moscow, did not know the countryside and had never been interested in factories or visited them.  But he had chanced to read about factories and to visit factory owners and talk with them; and when he saw some factory in the distance or up close, he thought each time of how quiet and peaceful everything was outside, and how inside there must be the impenetrable ignorance and obtuse egoism of the owners, the tedious unhealthy labor of the workers, squabbles, vodka, vermin. And now, as the workers deferentially and timorously stepped aside before the carriage, in their faces, caps, and gait he could discern physical uncleanness, drunkenness, nervousness, perplexity.

They drove through the factory gates.  On both sides flashed workers’ cottages, women’s faces, linen and blankets on the porches. “Watch out!” cried the driver, not reining in the horses. Then came a wide yard with no grass, and in it five huge buildings with smokestacks, standing separate from each other, warehouses, barracks, and over everything lay some sort of gray coating, as of dust. Tall chimneys a little distance one from another, warehouses and barracks, and over everything a sort of gray powder as though from dust. 






A PET QUESTION & ANSWER
What was Anton Chekhov's favorite breed of dog? There is one person out there who believes it was a dachshund. Get the story at "The Long and Short of It All: Dachshunds in Pop Culture."  Here's what we learn from site administrators Rowdy and Bette:

In 1892, Chekhov bought the small country estate of Melikhovo [that you will find pictured below], about forty miles south of Moscow, where he lived until 1899 with his family.  In April of 1893, his sister brought home two Dachshunds; the "blackish dog" was named 'Bromine,' and the "tan bitch" was named 'Quinine.' Quinine is a drug used in his day to treat advanced cases of tuberculosis, the disease that had killed his brother Nikolai in 1889 and would take his life in 1904.  Bromide was a sedative, as well as a cliché. Chekhov is pictured above with Quinine at his side.

It is good to know that someone is working on this canine's behalf. More proof that we live in fascinating times, that are exceeded by the animation,  below.



This beautiful work of Russian animation, above, from 1952
 retells the story of Chekhov's "Kashtanka". 
You can watch an English translation of it
 by clicking here.

THEY HAD ME AT THE TITLE
"I Know How You're Feeling, I Read Chekhov"
from The New York Times, October 3, 2013
by Pam Belluck
Researchers have found that readers of literary fiction are more empathetic than those who read popular fiction. Belluck reported that "literary fiction often leaves more to the imagination, encouraging readers to make inferences about characters and be sensitive to emotional nuance and complexity. They theorize that reading literary fiction helps improve real-life skills like empathy and understanding the beliefs and intentions of others."

Read Chekhov for a Better 2014
from The Millions, posted at 6:00 am on January 15, 2014
By Brendan Matthews 
New Year’s resolutions tend toward self-improvement. This is the year you will start going to the gym, or finally kick caffeine, or nip in the bud your nascent addiction to cronuts. Maybe you have promised to watch less television, or you have fiendishly reasoned that self-improvement relies on watching more television: you still don’t know what happened at the Red Wedding or who Walter White is, and this is making it hard for you to connect with your fellow human beings.



But what if you’re interested in connecting with your fellow human beings in a way that doesn’t require access to premium cable? According to a study published in October in the journal Science, reading literary fiction — including the works of Anton Chekhov — increases scores on tests of empathy and emotional intelligence. Who wouldn’t want to be more empathetic in 2014?



But before embarking on a self-help tour of late-Czarist Russia, be advised that Chekhov doesn’t provide easy answers to becoming a kinder, more caring person. There’s no five-step solution, no short prayer that will increase your fortunes and lay waste to the fields of your enemies.
To read all of this essay click here.



Sergey Ponomarev for the International Herald Tribune

Chekhov’s country estate, which he bought at age 32, is where he wrote

 “The Seagull” and many other works. (The New York Times, Aug. 10, 2013)


AT CHEKHOV'S ESTATE

At Chekhov’s Estate, a Pastoral Literary Shrine Belies a Turbulent Century

The New York Times, August 10, 2013

By Alison Smale

MELIKHOVO, Russia — In a country as big and brash as modern Russia, it is always something of a surprise to discover a modest jewel of the culture that many Russians value so highly.
The museum here at the former country estate of Anton Chekhov is just such a place. It is not very well marked from the nearby town of Chekhov — a typically ramshackle mix of Soviet apartments and post-Soviet garishness, founded only in 1954.
Yet once the visitor has crossed the railway tracks that once brought the Chekhovs here from Moscow, about 50 miles to the north, and onto the country road to Melikhovo, a pastoral scene unfolds.

To read the rest of the article click here.
Melikhovo, south of Moscow, retains the rural serenity that delighted
 the writer and his family in the late 19th century. (The New York Times, Aug. 11, 2013)


Sergey Ponomarev for the International Herald Tribune

Many artifacts came from the later Chekhov home in Yalta, enabling visitors today to get a full glimpse of a cramped family home in the late 19th century.
caption.
 (The New York Times, Aug. 11, 2013)


Other Articles and Websites about Chekhov

"Anton Chekhov: A Man for Our Times," in History Newa Network. "Chekhov homepage," "Chekhov's Legacy," and "Anton Chekhov on Writing"  from Creighton University page on Chekhov.  Encylopedia Britanica entry on Chekhov. 8 Things Civilized People Do by Anton Chekhov, from ForbesThe Stature of Anton Chekhov by Thomas Mann, from The New Republic.

By most accounts, Chekhov was known for his empathy.  Here's an abstract of an article, "Chekhov as a Doctor" by Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2003 Mar 1;147(9):406-11. [Article in Dutch]

Rooijmans HG. See this link for source of this abstract.

Abstract: "Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) was not only a writer, but also a doctor. One might think that he was primarily concerned with writing, but he also dedicated himself fully to being a doctor. When he had to give up his practice in 1897 upon urgent medical advice, he experienced it as a great loss. As a medic he often felt unsure and believed that he failed in his duties. This did not change the fact that many patients called upon him for assistance. They were probably also fond of him because of his genuine interest in their living conditions and because of his compassion. In terms of his scientific activities, his attempt to have his visit in 1890 to the Russian penal colony Sakhalin recognized as a dissertation [desecration?] failed. In many ways, Chekhov was a hard-working idealist, but one without illusions. Doctors appear as the main character or one of the main characters in 25 of Chekhov's hundreds of stories as well as in various plays. Although Chekhov undoubtedly will have incorporated his own experiences into his works, he did not give a picture of his own medical activities in the doctors he portrayed. A large number of the doctors he describes are depressed, nervous or irritable. Others are naïve and clumsy, while others still are skeptic, cynical or disillusioned. In some of the descriptions the image of Chekhov as a doctor may be observed."


The doctor is in.  Chekhov graduated from medical school in 1884.


I think intellectually my hero is Anton Chekhov, who was for me the greatest artist of late modernity, whose appreciation of finding the genius in the everyday, whose unbelievable commitment to compassion against the backdrop of human’s darkness is unprecedented. We would have to go back to Shakespeare and on back to Sophocles in the West to compare with the depths of his genius.